What In The World Is Bob Beckel Saying Here?

August 23, 2014 by  
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Friday’s edition of “The Five” was, if anything, even wilder than usual.

First there were the “newsy” segments, which featured things like Andrea Tantaros calling Eric Holder “one of the biggest race-baiters in the country” and saying that “he runs the DOJ like the Black Panther Party.”

But the weirdest moment came during a segment on marriage in which Bob Beckel fell into fits of uncontrollable laughter. Usually Beckel is given more to growling out statements that he later has to apologize for, so it was definitely a change. At one point, though, he uttered words that we still can’t understand.

HuffPost’s Sam Stein caught the moment on tape:

We honestly don’t know what’s going on here. (Maybe he said “Peter” or something?) So, HuffPost community, we turn to you: can you figure out what exactly Bob Beckel is saying?

This Film Narrated By Leo DiCaprio Presents A Clear Climate Change Solution: Price Carbon

August 22, 2014 by  
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green world rising

Ahead of the 2014 UN Climate Summit on Sept. 23, “Carbon” attempts to move the debate forward, exploring how governments worldwide are putting a price on carbon through carbon trading or carbon taxes. “Carbon” is the first film in Green World Rising, a four-part series narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio that focuses on climate change challenges and solutions.

Given the alarming list of severe climate impacts in the Arctic, in the South Seas and in places closer to home like New York City and California, and in light of the business-as-usual attitude that still prevails, resulting in increasingly dangerous levels of carbon in our atmosphere, we believe that getting the word out on the solutions and risks is critical. All four films create a whole picture, from the path forward to the peril we face if we don’t take action.

We begin the series with “Carbon,” a solution to keeping carbon in the ground. We then move to “Green World Rising” on the technologies that will power our future and “Restoration,” on the earth’s capacities to heal and reverse the damage. We end with “Last Hours,” a look at a scenario we can avoid if we all work together and take the necessary steps to stop carbon emissions.

Let’s stop pirouetting on the edge of disaster and come together to implement the changes we know we need to make — changes that have been on the shelf for years. We just need the will to implement them. These changes will create a sustainable world that will not only be cleaner, healthier, and more economically robust, but one that will also be viable, safer and secure, a world in which our children’s children — and let’s think seven generations coming — will thrive.

Along with DiCaprio and Thom Hartmann, this film series is backed by the website greenworldrising.org, which has a list of real solutions to the biggest challenge that faces humanity.


Former Editor Sues People Magazine For Racial Discrimination

August 21, 2014 by  
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An editor who was terminated from People magazine has filed a lawsuit against the glossy for discrimination.

Tatsha Robertson, reportedly the only black senior editor the magazine ever had, alleges her former boss left her out of meetings, dismissed pitches for stories centered on black victims, and verbally dissed her as well, once telling her, “You need to talk like everyone else here. You’re not at Essence anymore.”

“Ms. Robertson holds a degree in English, a Master’s in Journalism and is an adjunct professor at New York University,” the lawsuit counters. “She has also thrived and succeeded while working under five Pulitzer Prize-winning editors. No one has ever had any issue whatsoever with the way Ms. Robertson spoke or communicated.”

The suit also has pointed accusations about People’s editorial policy. In legal papers the magazine is described as “a discriminatory organization run entirely by white people who intentionally focus the magazine on stories involving white people and white celebrities.”

Despite “unparalleled” work, Robertson was let go in May during a “purported reduction in force” — all because of her race, the suit alleges. Robertson seeks damages against People, parent company Time Inc. and her supervisor, former executive editor Betsy Gleick.

“We’re hoping that ultimately we will have a jury trial and the jury will send a message to Time Inc. and People Magazine that you cannot discriminate against people based on the color of their skin, and that includes making discriminatory decisions about what articles and stories will go in the magazine,” Robertson’s lawyer, David Gottlieb, told The Huffington Post.

A People spokesperson declined to comment.

Since 2010, just 14 of 265 covers “focused on African-American individuals,” according to the suit, and just three of the 25 Most Beautiful Person choices since 1990 have been black. And in one of the rare instances that a black person graced the cover, Gleick allegedly obsessed over digging up dirt on Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen who was gunned down by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman. Gleick also balked at having three black people in a row on the weekly’s cover and cited the importance of stories from “white, middle-class suburbia,” the suit alleges.

Court papers assert that Gleick’s attitude bled into her treatment of Robertson, who says she was warned by a former executive and a staff writer about Gleick when Robertson was recruited in 2010 from Essence, another Time Inc. publication.

Gleick excluded her from meetings and important emails and gave stories in Robertson’s jurisdiction to other senior editors who were white, the suit alleges.

h/t New York Daily News


The Huffington Post Is Not Leaving Ferguson

August 20, 2014 by  
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What happens in Ferguson and the St. Louis metro area the day after everybody leaves?

It’s a question on the minds of nearly every resident, who know the camera crews will eventually fold up their sticks and pack up their vans, the West Florissant McDonald’s will transform from an international media filing center into a trivia question. But the local police will still be there, along with the structural inequality and racial disparities that sparked the crisis.

We plan to be there as it all unfolds. For The Huffington Post, this’ll involve a first-of-its-kind collaboration with readers, the local community and the Beacon Reader to create what we’re calling the Ferguson Fellowship. With reader support, we’ll hire a local citizen journalist who’s been covering the turmoil and train her to become a professional journalist.

Local resident Mariah Stewart has been covering the Ferguson protests as a citizen journalist with the support of readers through Beacon’s platform. With HuffPost readers’ support, we can make sure Stewart can continue her work.

Stewart will work directly with HuffPost’s criminal justice reporter Ryan Reilly to cover the ongoing story of Ferguson, tracking the federal investigation into the killing of Michael Brown and reporting on the empaneled grand jury. She’ll monitor the activity of the local and county police forces once the national spotlight dims, and will learn the intricacies of public records requests in an effort to divine the funding sources and uses of military gear in the county.

Click here to make a contribution and to learn more about Stewart and the Ferguson Fellowship.

James Foley’s Mother Pays Heartbreaking Tribute To Her Son

August 19, 2014 by  
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The mother of James Foley, the journalist who was apparently beheaded by members of the Islamic State in Syria, paid tribute to her son on Tuesday, saying she had “never been prouder” of him.

Foley had been missing since late 2012 when a video purporting to show his horrific murder was posted to YouTube. Hours later, his mother, Diane, who has been part of a campaign to find her son, posted a wrenching message to the Facebook page of the “Free James Foley” group, appearing to confirm her son’s death and celebrating his life.

She also referenced the other hostages still held by ISIS, including Foley’s fellow journalist Steven Sotloff, who was identified as another man in the video which showed Foley’s killing.

Read Diane Foley’s full statement below:

We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.

We implore the kidnappers to spare the lives of the remaining hostages. Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world.

We thank Jim for all the joy he gave us. He was an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.


Getty Photographer Scott Olson Arrested At Ferguson Protest (UPDATED)

August 19, 2014 by  
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A photographer for Getty Images was arrested Monday during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, several eyewitnesses reported.

HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly captured a photo of photojournalist Scott Olson’s arrest, which took place across the street from the press area:

Getty Images photographer arrested #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/ScOaHO8bjY

— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 18, 2014

Getty later confirmed Olson’s arrest to NBC News.

In an Instagram video posted by journalist Amy K. Nelson, Olson said he was arrested because police “said the media is required to be in a certain area.”

It’s not Olson’s first brush with the law while on the job. In 2012, Olson was one of several journalists injured while covering protests at a Chicago NATO summit. Olson was bloodied after being hit on the head with a police baton.

In a Saturday interview with NPR‘s “All Things Considered,” Olson detailed his experiences covering the protests over the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed African American teenager killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. In the interview, Olson, a former Marine, said he was shocked by how heavily armed Ferguson’s police squads were.

“Most of these protesters are peaceful,” he said. “If you have several people there trying to disrupt the protest, you’re not going to shoot at them with a rifle. Not in a crowd like that.”

CNN’s Don Lemon, also reporting from Ferguson, was pushed by police while he was filming a live shot Monday evening. Watch the video:

UPDATE: 9:58p.m. on Aug. 18 — Scott Olson was released from police custody.

Scott Olson just released. He said “I want to be able to do my job as a member of the media and not be arrested for just doing my job”

— Pancho Bernasconi (@DailyLuca) August 19, 2014

Below, a gallery of Olson’s photos from Ferguson:


Brian Williams Is Sometimes ‘Surprised’ At What His Rivals Are Putting Out

August 18, 2014 by  
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NEW YORK (AP) — Wearing shades as he walked back to work following a pizza lunch recently, Brian Williams ducked into Rockefeller Center and passed a tour guide who noted the celebrity sighting to his group: “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s Tom Brokaw.”

The television business can be humbling, even nearly 10 years after Williams succeeded Brokaw as NBC “Nightly News” anchor. Williams, 55, faces new competition from both ABC and CBS as they look to end NBC’s 256-week streak as the most popular evening newscast. David Muir takes over after Labor Day as anchor of the second-place “World News” at ABC. Steve Capus, former NBC news president and longtime Williams producer, is in charge behind the scenes as Scott Pelley’s executive producer at the “CBS Evening News.”

“When I started my competition was Dan (Rather) and Peter (Jennings),” Williams said. “That makes me feel old. That gets me on the treadmill every night after work. I am proud of what we’ve built here.”

So far this year, “Nightly News” has averaged 8.9 million viewers and widened its lead over ABC (8 million) and CBS (6.8 million). ABC has gained lately in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic, important to advertisers even as it is a minority of evening news viewers. ABC occasionally wins in that category and, in July, was up 5 percent over last year while NBC was down 4 percent, the Nielsen company said.

“Nightly” is the no-drama newscast at a network where “Today” seeks to regain its mojo against ABC’s ratings leader “Good Morning America” and David Gregory is being replaced by Chuck Todd as moderator of “Meet the Press,” as the venerable Sunday morning show has fallen from first to third place during Gregory’s tenure.

On a summer afternoon, “Nightly” executive producer Patrick Burkey and Williams presided over an afternoon news meeting to go over stories that might squeeze into that evening’s 22-minute news hole. Williams takes some ribbing from Todd over the anchor’s description of colleague Lester Holt “slappin’ the bass” while sitting in with the Roots on the “Tonight” show.

As if to prove a point, Williams repeats the reference on “Nightly.”

The biggest change in the job since Williams took over has been the immediacy. Burkey said “Nightly” is much more likely than it once was to change its lineup to reflect late-breaking news and frequently updates the telecast for the West Coast. With social media, if Williams says something mildly controversial or a graphic is misspelled, people at “Nightly” hear about it instantly.

While he’s anchoring, TV monitors out of sight of the cameras keep Williams informed of what ABC and CBS are doing on their simultaneous newscasts. Despite this, Williams said it’s important to program his broadcast “with blinders on.

“We don’t know what the competition is going to do,” he said. “While it is true that I am sometimes surprised at the alternatives being offered, it will in no way affect the choices I’m going to make the next day or the day after that.”

That’s polite anchor-speak. Privately, some at NBC express incredulity over some news decisions made over at ABC — such as a recent day when NBC led its newscast with the shooting death of an American two-star general in Afghanistan while “World News” opened with a collision between double-decker buses in New York’s Times Square.

These decisions bear watching, though, since ABC overtook NBC in the morning partly because of a breezier approach that caught NBC flat-footed.

Andrew Tyndall, whose consulting company monitors the content of evening newscasts, said NBC lately seems to be following ABC’s lead by introducing more morning-style elements into the second half of “Nightly,” including social media pieces by Jenna Wolfe and entertainment coverage.

Williams’ spot atop the ratings appears secure, although the change of an anchor lends some mystery to an area of TV where audiences are very loyal.

As Williams finished a second slice of pizza at lunch, he was interrupted by a fellow diner who said she was a fan and thanked Williams for positively representing New Jersey, the state where he has one of his three homes.

“I like that person who just came by,” he said after she leaves the hole-in-the-wall pizza joint Williams swears by. “That’s really meaningful to me.”

Health and ratings permitting, Williams doesn’t expect to move onto another job in television news.

“People don’t move on from these jobs voluntarily often,” he said. “When you’re like me, when you came up the way I did, why would you want to do something else?”


David Bauder can be reached at dbauder@ap.org or on Twitter @dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.

Watch The Pokémon World Championship Finals Right Now!

August 17, 2014 by  
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We haven’t been this excited about Pokémon since we traded a Bulbasaur for a first-edition Charizard with that naive little kid at recess.

Yes, Pokémon is still a thing. Yes, thousands of people are watching both kids and adults play the Pokémon trading card and video games in Washington D.C. The Pokémon World Championships are going on right now, and you can catch ‘em all right here:

Here’s the schedule of Pokévents, according to Kotaku, in Eastern Time:

Sunday, August 17

  • 9:00 A.M. — TCG Masters top 4
  • 10:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. — Pokémon Trading Card Game Finals
  • 3:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. — Video Game Finals
  • 6:00 P.M. — Closing Ceremony

Who will emerge victorious? Who will get their Pokéballs crushed by the competition? Who’s reading this right now?



Big Media Aids Vital Girls’ Schooling in South Sudan

August 16, 2014 by  
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The world’s newest country, South Sudan, still struggles to end the internal conflicts that have marred its early life. This week, for instance, a deadline to reach agreement passed without success in peace talks between the warring factions. But nevertheless the country is still managing to make progress in the vital field of educating its young people.

And remarkably, one the world’s leading broadcasters, the BBC, is playing a role in that effort.


Crucial to the country’s new educational drive is GESS (Girls Education South Sudan) – a program aimed at transforming the lives of an entire South Sudanese generation, and generations to come. (Pictured above: a South Sudan school with girl students participating in the GESS program.) The concentration on girls comes in recognition of now well-documented evidence that educating young women is one of the most effective ways to lift families and communities out of poverty.

Until now the odds have been stacked locally against such progress, not least by cultural values that downgrade the idea of girls’ schooling. Traditionally only one girl in ten has completed primary education in South Sudan, and girls comprise just one-third of the secondary school population.

GESS is largely funded by the British government’s overseas aid ministry, and the US-based charity UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) is co-managing the program in the state of Northern Bahr el Ghazai. They work alongside the deep-rooted local agency, HARD (the Hope Agency for Relief and Development) which was formed in 1995 at the height of the civil war that eventually led to South Sudan’s creation as an independent nation.

In practicalities and logistics, resources available to local schools are being seriously ramped up — everything from computer equipment to solar electricity systems to classroom chalk. There’s been a boost, too, in recruiting and specialized training of appropriately skilled staff. “Sending women for teacher training clearly increases the number of teachers,” says UMCOR’s GESS Team leader Christine Meling, “and they in turn mentor and motivate girls to complete their education and achieve similar goals”.

But perhaps the most creative hallmark of the program is the use of radio broadcasting to aid the overall effort. As in many other African countries, radio is for the vast majority of South Sudanese people the most accessible source of information, according to the country’s first national media survey, conducted last year.

For the GESS program, 15-minute radio presentations (with production aided by the the BBC’s international development charity, BBC Media Action, a group that’s not exactly secret, but not exactly widely-publicized either) explore real-life village situations and dilemmas. They are used by a network of “listening groups” as a spur for discussion and mobilization of local communities who might not otherwise appreciate the value of girls’ schooling.

Since March this year, the popular series Our School has been airing in five languages, portraying the lives of girls and their families as they struggle with, and resolve, the challenges of going to school.

In one episode 17-year old Stella Nyoka, who wants to earn a living as an engineer, says she appreciates school because:

“I need to help my family, my community and especially fellow-girls like me, and to see that girls go to school and learn — instead of ‘whoosh’, straight into marriage”.

And in an accompanying public service announcement, the availability of GESS funding is made clear … but only after an everyday problem with school uniforms is addressed by two schoolgirl characters, Paite and Keji:

Paite: Oh, Keji. Today is only Monday, and already your school uniform is so very dirty.

Keji: Paite, don’t give me a hard time about my dirty uniform. In our school, we have to sit on the floor as there are no benches. Our books are also very dirty like this. I am even starting to lose interest in school.

Paite: Oh, in our school, we have benches to sit on. Our school applied for a grant from the government. And it is our right as students to tell our teachers how to use this money.

The broadcast explains just how to apply for the funding, giving a toll-free phone number to call.

The GESS organizers are at pains to ensure an ongoing process of monitoring and evaluation for their program. As part of this UMCOR has helped to develop a comprehensive school-attendance recording system and encouraged its widespread adoption. Daily attendance is recorded and collated electronically in real time.

This monitoring innovation is already enabling the state education authorities to accurately assess the impact of the new effort. The GESS finance, in the form of what are known as “capitation grants”, is made available to schools that report encouraging attendance records. The grants aim, says UMCOR’s Christine Meling, “to improve the learning environment that will attract more girls in school and retain them”.

Cash is also available to individual students, especially those from the poorest homes, to enable them to meet their essential needs like uniforms and shoes. As Meling also points out, “Girl children will also be motivated to attend classes since they will have the money to procure basic, yet so vital items such as comfort-kits, without which they can miss classes. Teenage girls have often missed classes for up to 5 days in a month because of their menstrual cycle. With the cash grants, this could be made a thing of the past.”

‘The Onion’ Comments On Ferguson Tragedy With Striking ‘Unarmed Teen’ Cover

August 15, 2014 by  
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On Friday, “The Onion” gave stunning commentary on the shooting of young men like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin before him, with its “The Onion Magazine” cover on “Unarmed Teens.”

the onion unarmed teends

The image follows up a story the faux-news publication ran on Thursday, “Tips For Being An Unarmed Black Teen,” wherein young African-American men are encouraged to, among other things, “Shy away from dangerous, heavily policed areas.”

Friday’s image was published by “The Onion” the same day Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson released the name of the officer who shot Brown and stated that the deceased teen was a suspect in a robbery that took place earlier on the day of his shooting. (Jackson later held another press conference where he stated that Brown’s interaction with the officer in question was unrelated to the alleged robbery.)

In a statement following Jackson’s initial announcement, Brown’s family called the robbery allegations an attempt to “assassinate the character of their son.”

“The Onion” has often taken aim at gun violence in the U.S., creating headlines that are as haunting as they are darkly satirical. Earlier this year, the paper tackled the killing spree at UCSB that left seven dead with the story, “‘No Way To Prevent This’ Says Only Nation Where This Happens Regularly.”

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